In our industry—as in any other field—we hear buzzwords or jargon so often that the terms seem worn out through overuse. But sometimes those same terms come up in a fresh context and take on a whole new meaning. That was my experience this February at the inaugural Shopper Insights Management Association (SIMA) conference, with the familiar concepts of omni and big data.
Omni comes from the Latin omnis, which translates loosely as “all” or “every.” Used as a prefix in omnichannel, it means integrating sales and marketing approaches across all online and offline retail channels. Big data got its name from the high volume and velocity of data generated in the digital age, and in our field refers to the large data sets collected through point-of-sale, loyalty programs, web browsing, social media, and so on. To be clear, omni and big data weren’t the featured topics at the conference, but I found myself examining the concepts of omni and big data based on my conference impressions.
I've written before about the importance of omnichannel marketing (see my take on omnichannel collaboration in 2019 Retail Marketing Trends), and mining big data for actionable insights is Foresight ROI’s specialty. Unlocking big data reveals the “what”—what happens when CPGs and their customers do X, Y, and Z—and predictive analytics tools (like Foresight ROI's solutions determine the “now what?” In other words, insight becomes foresight when the right tools are brought to bear on big data.
My work keeps me steeped in details and data points, but I’m reminded now to step back and take in the big picture, which is big data’s enormous potential within truly collaborative partnerships vs. the current model in which either the CPG or the retailer gets the better end of a give-and-take relationship.
Just as placing big data in a big-picture context renews excitement in its potential, applying the concept of omni beyond just e-commerce helps us understand what needs to happen in retail marketing and merchandising moving forward. Marketers have seen an explosion of data from smartphones, e-commerce, frequent shopper data, and so on, and both CPGs and retailers would like to converge all those data streams. In fact, a video about SIMA traces the association’s genesis to “the No. 1 question” posed by Category Management Association (CMA) members: how to synthesize available big data sets and then derive insights that have value from a category management perspective? SIMA, part of CMA, aims to provide answers.
One definition of omni is “without limits,” and that’s the propulsive idea behind making big data even bigger by combining it. This means razing siloes separating certain business functions within CPG companies (namely shopper insights, shopper marketing, and category management). It also means dismantling some of the moss-gathering walls between CPGs and retailers that hamper the exchange of shopper data and insights.
Based loosely on questions posed at the SIMA conference, here are some thoughts about the future and focus of this new organization and about the intersection of category management, shopper insights, shopper marketing, and data analytics.
Why are category managers clamoring for big data consolidation and shopper insights?
What stands in the way of integrating all available shopper data?
How can these barriers be overcome?
Circling back to omni, Foresight ROI’s tools give users a taste of omniscience—or perhaps omnipotence. Click here to learn how predictive analytics are akin to super powers. Ready to harness that power? Contact us today.
Rick Abens serves on the executive board of the Shopper Insights Marketing Association, part of the Category Management Association.